Union Pacific Falls Despite Strong Quarter

Union Pacific topped analysts' fourth quarter revenue and earnings estimates.
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Shares of railroad giant Union Pacific  (UNP) - Get Report dropped Thursday despite the company announcing fourth-quarter results that topped analyst estimates for the period. 

The Omaha, Nebraska-based company reported fourth quarter adjusted earnings of $2.36 per share, a jump from the $2.02 per share reported in the year-ago quarter, on revenue that fell 1% year-over-year to $5.1 billion. 

Analysts were expecting earnings of $2.29 per share on revenue of $5.09 billion. 

"These outstanding results demonstrate the true potential of our franchise as we leveraged all three profitability drivers simultaneously -- volume growth, productivity, and pricing -- to produce record fourth quarter results," said CEO Lance Fritz.

While the company did not provide specific outlook numbers for 2021, it did say that its enhanced service product will support core pricing gains while also increasing its share of the freight transportation market. 

"Our confidence in our ability to drive value for all of our stakeholders has never been greater," Fritz said. 

While the company reported a 1% decline in fourth quarter freight revenue year-over-year, it also reported an all-time high adjusted operating ratio of 55.6% thanks in part to lower fuel prices. 

The company also said it repurchased nearly 4 million shares in the fourth quarter at an aggregate cost of $749 million. 

Bulk and premium shipping were up 1% and 5%, respectively, in the quarter, but industrial shipping was down 7% as the industry continues to grapple with the effect of the coronavirus pandemic and associated economic lockdowns. 

Union Pacific shares were down 3.95% to $209.55 at last check in late morning trading Thursday.